Right now, the country is experiencing what experts like to call rental nation. It’s an apparent rise in the number of renters versus homebuyers, which has put the number of renters at an all-time high and the number of homebuyers at the lowest it’s been since 1967. As a result, more rental properties and landlords are popping out of the woodwork.
Location, price, and amenities are all important factors for tenants when deciding where to rent, but the quality of the landlord is also a major factor in not only attracting renters, but also keeping them. With so much competition surrounding the business, it’s important that landlords act accordingly. Here are 14 New Years resolutions that will get you there.
1. Understand the Lease Agreement
Most landlords don’t write the leases themselves. If you do, make having a written, lawyer-approved lease your first resolution for the New Year. Because they don’t write the leases themselves, they often don’t fully understand what’s in them, which can prevent both landlord and tenant from abiding by the legal terms of the lease.
To avoid that, take the time to read and fully understand both parts of the lease. That way, you won’t face any legal hassles or a disgruntled tenant in 2016.
2. Build an Emergency Fund
There’s a lot of power in having a savings account that can be used in the event that something goes horribly wrong. Whether you face property damage, a natural disaster, or upgrades, finding some extra money every month to put into savings will go a long way for your overall profit and comfort.
3. Stop Accepting Bad Tenants
Make 2016 the year when you stop letting partying, rent skimming, damaging, loud, rude tenants into your apartment complex. You owe yourself the respect of enacting a tenant screening process that will kick bad tenants to the curb and set you up for a great year.
4. Finally Check Off Your Maintenance List
You’ve probably built up an impressive list of maintenance work that needs to be completed on your rental properties. If not, start that list and begin checking off each item. Your renters will be much happier and more likely to stay long term if the property is well maintained. There’s no time to achieve this goal like the present.
5. Schedule Personal Time
Many landlords live under the assumption that once they become a landlord of a property, they must live on the job, leaving very little room for vacations or personal time. Lucky for you, that’s not true. All you have to do is work out your schedule now to plan for taking vacations so you can spend time alone or with loved ones.
6. Respond More Quickly to Maintenance Requests
The top complaints tenants make about their properties deal with maintenance. Quick, high quality maintenance will entice new tenants to stay, while empty promises and prolonged responses frustrate tenants to no avail. This year, resolve to reply to maintenance requests within 24 hours instead of letting them collect in your inbox for weeks.
7. Contact Tenants Personally Every Few Months
At least once per quarter, you’ll want to personally check in on your tenants. It’s really easy, and it helps to build a strong, trustworthy relationship. If you have a small property, it’s easy to knock on the door and have a quick chat. If you have a larger property, it’s as simple as sending an email asking how things are going with the property and if there are any needs, comments, or complaints from the tenant.
8. Amp Up Your Communication
No tenant likes to be left in the dark, but keeping a steady stream of communication isn’t always easy. No matter how good you are at communicating with your tenant, it could probably still use some work. Make sure your tenants know how and when it’s appropriate to contact you, and resolve to continually communicate with them. Send email updates, create a monthly newsletter, connect on social media, and respond to emails and maintenance requests in a timely manner.
9. Improve Contractor Relations
If you have outside contractors and vendors working with you on a property, such as maintenance or landscaping, be sure to bring dignity and respect to the next meeting. Act with utmost professionalism, even if they tell you things you don’t want to hear. They’re only doing their jobs, and reacting with courtesy is the best way to ease the situation.
10. Look Into Quality Upgrades
Every property needs a few upgrades at some point, but for most landlords, it takes quite a bit of time to save money, research a great design, and hire a good contractor. If you haven’t already, begin preparing for future upgrades now.
11. Get Those Deposits Taken Care Of
This resolution is two sided. For starters, you’ll want to make sure you collect a security deposit before the lease begins. Some renters will try to work their way around paying the deposit, and it’s tempting to let them move in before they get it to you. Just remember that if you don’t collect it right away, your chances of ever collecting decrease.
The second part of this resolution involves sending remaining security deposits soon after a renter vacates a property. Your reputation deserves this courtesy, because failing to send deposits in a timely manner is the fastest way to cripple that.
12. Cater to Millennial Renters
Renting can be expensive, especially since so many millennials are doing so.
This generation loves extra amenities such as social media connection, texting communication, pet-friendly apartments, smart-home technologies, flexible contracts, and green features. Including a few of these conveniences in the rental agreement can widen your target audience.
13. Increase Transparency
If you want your tenants to be honest with you, be honest with them. Don’t try to hide things in the lease agreement or evade maintenance requests. Communicate when situations get difficult, and be upfront about problems and concerns before they create a mess that you can’t clean up.
14. Hire Property Managers
Perhaps this should be your first resolution. The best way to ensure your tenants have a good experience that makes them want to stay is to hire a good property management company, like Green Residential.
We know how much the tenant experience means to your business, which is why we’ve developed an all-inclusive, property management package that can be customized to fit your needs. From leasing to tenant screening to inspection services, we know the ins and outs of property management and can increase your comfort as a landlord. For more information about the specific services we offer, contact us today!